After one week of play in the 2014 college baseball season, the team the Big 12 coaches voted as the league favorite in their annual preseason poll has yet to win a game in five outings, while the teams projected to finish in the conference cellar is off to a 4-0 start.
It’s probably safe to say defending conference championj Kansas State is not enjoying being out on the West Coast to begin the season. The Wildcats, who return a number of players who made up one of the best hitting teams in the country a season ago, dropped three games last weekend to Cal Poly and extended their losing streak to five games to open the season by falling to San Francisco and Portland on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
Meanwhule, the other Sunflower State school, Kansas, swept its four-game series with Brigham Young last weekend, scoring a total of 33 runs in the process. Oklahoma State joins Kansas as the only two undefeated teams in the conference after the opening week of play. The Cowboys defeated the University of Texas-Arlington, the host team in the UTA-Hilton Invitational Tournament, in the championship final and then powered their way to two home wins over Alcorn State, equaling Kansas’s 33-run total, except in two games instead of four.
More notables and quotables from Week 1 of the 2014 Big 12 baseball season:
- The Big 12 has four teams ranked this week in the college baseball national polls. In this week’s USA Today/ESPN poll, Oklahoma State is 17, Kansas State dropped seven spots to 21, Texas is 22nd and TCU is 23rd.
- Two veteran coaches are nearing milestones in their careers: Baylor head coach Steve Smith lacks three wins of reaching the vaunted 700-win club, while Jim Schlossnagle of TCU needs just three victories to record 500 wins for his career.
- Texas starting pitchers over the weekend surrendered just one earned run in 27 innings. The Longhorn staff allowed just four earned runs in 34 innings, for an aggregate ERA of 1.04.
- TCU starting pitcher struck out 13 batters in the Horned Frogs’ season-opening win over Jacksonville. The junior left-hander gave up no runs and just three hits in seven innings. Finnegan was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week this week.
- The TCU starting pitcher duo of Finnegan and Preston Morrison combined for 15 innings on Friday and Saturday last weekend and did not allow an earned run. The exact same was true for Texas starters Nathan Thornhill and Dillon Peters.
- The Big 12’s top hitter a year ago, Texas outfielder Mark Payton, had nine hits in 15 trips to the plate for an opening-weekend batting average of .529 as the Longhorns took one of three at California. The Texas senior extended his active hitting streak to 43 consecutive games. Payton hit a league-leading .393 last season.